We tend to focus on the physical effects of fatigue......muscles ache, joint pain and stiffness, drop in stamina. It's familiar to most of us who have maybe spent a summer afternoon putting new siding or a roof on our house, or doing whatever chore we encounter in life. But there are other, more subtle effects of fatigue. And they are often more problematic than the physical deterioration.
The biggest thing is loss of mental acuity in all its facets, including lapses in memory and judgement, inability to process situations and data, and just all around deterioration in the thought processes and concentration. Throw all of these on to an athlete, and yes, receivers forget how to catch, defensive linemen and linebackers can't remember the right way to counter a trap play, blockers go into "which way did he go" mode, etc. We've all probably heard the expression "stupid tired." We witnessed that Thursday night.
In our season prediction thread (now archived) I penciled this one in as a loss, reluctantly. I just couldn't see how they could pull it off. Traveling on a short week is always a problem; Monday night teams have a noticeable drop in win percentage when they travel the next weekend. It's been that way for years. That situation still allows five days between games. We had four, one lost to travel.
I suppose it sounds like a lot of excuses, but it's true. It was a disappointing loss, to be sure. But I know the whys behind it and I can live with it. They will bounce back, I'm sure.
Talent can get you to the playoffs.
It takes character to win when you get there.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII CHAMPIONS